The Crow Creek Sioux Tribe is rescinding any and all contact with the State of South Dakota. Tribal officials say they’re not happy the state is offering aid to North Dakota law enforcement at a pipeline blockade near the Missouri River.
In a letter sent to the governor’s office on Monday, the chairman of Crow Creek says the state chose to stand against its people in favor of big oil.
However, the governor’s office says North Dakota requested help, and that resource sharing is a common practice.
Crow Creek Sioux Tribal Chairman Brandon Sazue says he saw the South Dakota Highway Patrol in Morton County North Dakota last weekend where 127 were arrested for actions held against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Sazue says the tribe has canceled their tax agreement with the state, and a memorandum of understanding with the highway patrol. He says Crow Creek tax dollars won’t go to South Dakota law enforcement for helping stop activists.
“South Dakota, now, has knowingly entered into that and condones the pepper spray, the shooting down of a drone, the felony charges of our young men and women, the actions of using batons, and using military tactics on our people, which, who by the way, are not armed," Sazue says. "So, we are paying for them to be up there, in other words, and we can’t be a part of that.”
Sazue says the Crow Creek Tribe has a 90-10 split tax agreement with the state. The state helps the tribe collect taxes, and the state keeps 10 percent. He says he will be speaking with other South Dakota tribes about rescinding their agreements with the state.
The spokesperson for Governor Dennis Daugaard’s office says this is unfortunate. Tony Venhuizen says the process of lending law enforcement to other states is part of a long standing multi-state agreement. He says South Dakota receives police help from other states during the Sturgis motorcycle rally. Venhuizen says multiple states are helping the Morton County Sheriff’s office.
“In our view, it’s a mistake to view this as the state taking a side on the protest or siding with the pipeline or against the protestors. That’s not it at all," Venhuizen says. "All sides of this issue have an interest in seeing public safety maintained. This is just being a good neighbor to North Dakota and helping them keep the peace.”
Venhuizen says he hopes the relationships between the Crow Creek Tribe and the state will continue. He says they are mutually beneficial. He says the state will keep lines of communication open. Officials won’t disclose how many officers from South Dakota have been sent to North Dakota, or how long they may be there.